Officials say more human remains could be found inside former Cantrell Funeral Home

Bodies of 11 infants, cremated remains of 4 people found at former funeral home


DETROIT – Local 4 cameras went back inside the former Cantrell Funeral Home where, in August, state inspectors were told by a tipster that they would find corpses throughout the building.

An inspector found a box on the table with the remains of a stillborn baby inside, but police were not called and nothing more was uncovered at the time, according to authorities.

Officials said more remains could be found, but the building isn't being handled as a crime scene.

READAnonymous tip reported corpses inside Cantrell Funeral Home 45 days ago

Last week, a letter was sent to the state, telling inspectors exactly where to look. That's when the bodies of 11 infants, ranging from early gestation to a couple of months old, were found hidden in a ceiling, officials said.

RELATED: Help us investigate Cantrell Funeral Home

People are wondering why state inspectors didn't do more when they got the first tip 45 days ago.

"We did go through every portion of that building," LARA spokesperson Julia Dale said.

On Wednesday, Local 4 was at the building after workers found the cremated remains of four people in the basement.

New building owner Naveed Syed showed Local 4 a cellar space, saying it's unknown if anyone has thoroughly searched inside.

"This is the basement, which is huge," Syed said.

A police cadaver dog likely went in, but it wouldn't pick up if cremated remains were hidden in the cellar.

"I won't be surprised if they find something more," Syed said. "I hope there's nothing else here."

Last April, the funeral home manager's license was pulled for improperly stored bodies. Police investigators want to speak with her, calling her a witness in the case, but not a suspect.

Police believe crimes have been committed.

"We're going to flush it out, and we're going to make sure we have adequate resources, and we're going to move forward," Detroit police Chief James Craig said.

LARA provided the following list of previous state regulatory actions against Cantrell Funeral Home before 2017:

  • Sept. 12, 1996: Unknown fine amount imposed against Cantrell Funeral Home, Inc.’s Prepaid registration.
  • Aug. 23, 1999: $1,500 fine imposed against Cantrell Funeral Home, Inc., based on statement of complaint alleging unlicensed individuals were performing embalming services.
  • May 10, 2000: Final order against Raymond Cantrell, II with $1,000 fine imposed and paid 8/8/00. Complaint alleged failure to timely embalm a body, incompetence and gross negligence.
  • Sept. 7, 2000: Inspection of Cantrell Funeral Home performed based on statement of complaint. Found eleven bodies housed off of the preparation room, including one infant. Interviewed Raymond Cantrell, II.
  • Oct. 17, 2001: Re-Inspection of Cantrell Funeral Home performed. 10 of 11 bodies were buried, but 11th body, a baby who died in 1997 and remained unclaimed by the family with a balance due.  Funeral home would not bury the baby. Advisory letter issued regarding poor condition of preparation room.
  • July 3, 2002: Raymond Cantrell, II’s mortuary science license placed on probation, fined $6,000, and required to make restitution of $41,456.12. Fine not collected from Treasury until 1/31/17, and proof of restitution not provided until 11/17/16. License suspended until 8/1/17 per Final Order.
  • Oct. 12, 2004: $10,000 fine imposed against Cantrell Funeral Home, Inc., based on statement of complaint alleging unlicensed activity of individuals working at establishment. Resolved by settlement.

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